book review

Finding a Boy Across the World | Just One Year by Gayle Forman

Friday, January 20, 2017

Just One Year by Gayle Forman

Publisher: Dutton Books
Publication Date: October 10, 2013
Pages: 323
Source: purchased
Add It: Goodreads
When he opens his eyes, Willem doesn’t know where in the world he is—Prague or Dubrovnik or back in Amsterdam. All he knows is that he is once again alone, and that he needs to find a girl named Lulu. They shared one magical day in Paris, and something about that day—that girl—makes Willem wonder if they aren’t fated to be together. He travels all over the world, from Mexico to India, hoping to reconnect with her. But as months go by and Lulu remains elusive, Willem starts to question if the hand of fate is as strong as he’d thought. . . .

The romantic, emotional companion to Just One Day, this is a story of the choices we make and the accidents that happen—and the happiness we can find when the two intersect.
Allyson and Willem spent one day together in Paris.  Then he vanished without a word.  Allyson’s story is told in Just One DayJust One Year gives Willem a chance to explain what happened during their year apart.

In my review for Just One Day, I mention Willem’s character and how he is not very likable.  However, getting inside his head and reading the story from his perspective changed that.  I’m not quite entirely sure why but I loved Just One Year much more than I did Just One Day.  This companion series could have been one book.  It should have been one book with the unfinished Just One Day


Still looking past that, Just One Year is a fast read that will have you finished in just one day (see what I did there?).  It is a gorgeous wanderlust journal, a philosophy of accidents, and a journey to find love.  Gayle Forman certainly plays with your heartstrings, just like she did in the last book but there is something different about it this time.  Instead of Allyson’s angst and her freshman blues, readers finally understand the mystery behind Willem and why he is the way he is.  Willem chooses to find Allyson as soon as he lost her and keep looking for her.  On his journey, he is not only trying to find her but also trying to figure out who he really is.  The year-long journey is truly enchanting. 

There were not many side characters that ruled the scene.  Willem’s friends were there and then gone.  Just as I warmed up to them, they would be out of the picture.  It is both sad but undeniably true in how friends come together and grow apart.

So many questions from the unfinished Just One Day was finally answered.  I need to read the first one and only then, could I now appreciate it much more.  Willem’s connection with Allyson seemed to dig deeper as the pages turn.  Despite not even knowing her name, his connection helped him understand himself and heal him from his harsh world.

This is a love story like no other: gorgeous, intricate, and realistic.  The ending was magnificent. It was not a surprise but I wished the ending would go a little farther than it did.  I’m not asking for a sequel because I think the story came to a nice close.  I just want a few more minutes within their world and to see what happens next.  Just One Year truly takes readers through a whirlwind of places on an adventure to find love.  It will have you asking for more and rereading its companion novel, Just One Day.



Just One Day (8/20/13): 4 stars
Just One Year (10/10/13): 5 stars


book discussion

5 Book-to-Movie Adaptations You Don't Want to Miss This Year (2017)

Tuesday, January 17, 2017


At the beginning of each year, I always make a sizable list of books I need to read soon because the movie adaptations are happening this year. This year is no different, with a lovely amount of movies I hope do some amazing books justice. Here's 5 movies you should be on the lookout for this year (in where I also slipped in a movie from last year that I still need to catch):

A Monster Calls


Movie Release Date: 1/6/17

The monster showed up after midnight. As they do.

But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming…

This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.

It wants the truth. - Goodreads

Ascendant


Movie Release Date: 6/9/17

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered - fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she's known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris's new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningliess. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend to complexities of human nature - and of herself - while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

Told from a riveting dual perspective, ALLEGIANT, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the DIVERGENT series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in DIVERGENT and INSURGENT. -Goodreads

Let it Snow


Movie Release Date: 11/22/17

Sparkling white snowdrifts, beautiful presents wrapped in ribbons, and multicolored lights glittering in the night through the falling snow. A Christmas Eve snowstorm transforms one small town into a romantic haven, the kind you see only in movies. Well, kinda. After all, a cold and wet hike from a stranded train through the middle of nowhere would not normally end with a delicious kiss from a charming stranger. And no one would think that a trip to the Waffle House through four feet of snow would lead to love with an old friend. Or that the way back to true love begins with a painfully early morning shift at Starbucks. Thanks to three of today’s bestselling teen authors—John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle—the magic of the holidays shines on these hilarious and charming interconnected tales of love, romance, and breathtaking kisses. - Goodreads

Wonder


Movie Release Date: 4/7/17

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances? - Goodreads

Carrie Pilby


Movie Release Date: 9/16

Teen Genius (and Hermit) Carrie Pilby's To-Do List:1. List 10 things you love (and do them!)2. Join a club (and talk to people!)3. Go on a date (with someone you actually like!)4. Tell someone you care (your therapist doesn't count!)5. Celebrate New Year's (with other people!)Seriously? Carrie would rather stay in bed than deal with the immoral, sex-obsessed hypocrites who seem to overrun her hometown, New York City. She's sick of trying to be like everybody else. She isn't! But when her own therapist gives her a five-point plan to change her social-outcast status, Carrie takes a hard look at herself—and agrees to try.Suddenly the world doesn't seem so bad. But is prodigy Carrie willing to dumb things down just to fit in? - Goodreads

What movies are you most excited for?

book review

A Time Traveling Adventure | Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Friday, January 13, 2017

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Publisher: Disney
Publication Date: January 5, 2016
Pages: 496
Source: BEA
Add It: Goodreads
Buy It: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them—whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home... forever.

What's This About

Etta is going to be a professional violinist one day. She has been practicing for this very moment, but it shatters all at once when she is pushed over the door’s threshold at the museum and finds herself on a ship. Time traveling has been in her family for generations, it seems, but her mother never shared this world with her and it is beginning to become clear why. The Ironwood family has taken Etta’s mother hostage, to serve as motivation in Etta’s journey. Etta is sent on an impossible mission to recover the lost astrolabe, a piece that her mother has hidden far away. Given a coded letter, Etta must find the astrolabe and return it—with the help of Nicholas—or the Ironwoods will murder her mother.

Time Traveling Adventure

  • Confession time: I have never read an Alexandra Bracken novel. I went into this with absolutely no expectations but was so happily surprised at what Passenger offers. Bracken gives a lovely adventure that is both fast and fresh. 
  • The introduction—before readers get into the meat of the action—is set up perfectly. It is both simple but gorgeous in its flow to present the act of time traveling. The suspense is continuously building until Bracken allows for some answers to seep through the story. It’s definite genius! 
  • I kept seeing the novel like a movie inside my head (like with most novels) but the structure was so thought out and executed so well that I wish there was a movie adaptation; it would be amazing to see Passenger on the big screen.
  • Essentially, Passenger is about one thing, and one thing only. Etta has got to find the astrolabe. It's a scavenger hunt that spans centuries and countries. Such a hunt could have been dealt with in a much more exciting fashion. However, by giving readers a snippet of a place here or there, where the location spans just a chapter or two—the amount of time spent in one place is minimal, which takes the magic out of the settings. 

Characters

  • Etta is an amazing character. She is strong, fearless, and filled with so much spunk. 
  • Nicholas is very likable and relatable. As much as readers have seen his type before—the brooding, gorgeous guy with a dark past—it doesn’t stop me from loving him any less. 

Clever Structure on Point

  • Time traveling adventures always include some sort of backstory that has to make sense. You can’t just throw in some time traveling and have no explanation of how or why people can time travel. Bracken did a fantastic job in structuring the world in which Passenger resides. The clever scavenger hunt through multiple times and locations is a masterful weave of structure.
  • As much as the world of time traveling is on point, Passenger does suffer from massive information dumping on its readers. You could start off a chapter that is moving through Etta’s journey but it can quickly turn into too much history. The history, of course, is needed to understand the time traveling world. However, I do believe it could have been given to readers in smaller doses.

A "Supernatural" Ending

  • To avoid spoiling you who hasn’t read the book, the ending is superb, yet left me feeling cheated. It’s a weird feeling because here I was expecting someone was going to die and no one did. Like, wait a second, did I read that right? 
  • It leaves me reeling, ready for the sequel. Readers will definitely have more questions by the end than they do answers.

Overall

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken is a fantastical adventure, delving into a clever hunt for the lost astrolabe. Fans of time travel will certainly love this new series and begin counting down the days to the next installment. This fast, amazing tale will have readers begging for answers.

Passenger (1/5/16): 4 stars
Wayfarer (1/3/17): TBA

best of 2016

10 Books From 2016 Still Out In the Cold

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

This list could probably go on for miles. I didn't need a topic like this to remind me just how much I haven't read yet. But here we are. These 2016 releases are shaking from being left on those bookshelves so long, right next to those 2011 releases I've still not read, who probably have hypothermia by now. (That explains why the covers are so blue.)


Top Ten Tuesday is created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is: Top Ten 2016 Releases We Meant to Read But Didn't Get to.

In all honesty, this is the post telling myself that I need to get on it. I went back to last year's post: Top Ten 2015 Releases I Meant to But Didn't and found that I've only read two books in that list last year. That's a fail. However, with new year's comes positive outlooks and I've started the year off right so let's get this list read!


And I Darken by Kiersten White (6/28/16): I didn't know this one was coming out. I loved Kiersten White's Paranormalcy series so by default, I got this book. I've been hearing mixed reviews about it but I'm hoping for the best.

Shade Me by Jennifer Brown (1/19/16): Way back when this blog was just a figment of my imagination, I read The Hate List by Jennifer Brown. Something in that book moved me. And now I own all her books but I've only ever read The Hate List. I would say I am quite behind.

The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron (9/13/16): I only recently put this on my list because some bloggers listed The Forgetting as their best book of 2016. I want to see what the hype is about, considering I never heard about this book before.


A World Without You by Beth Revis (7/19/16): The synopsis is so intriguing. And time travel, which may or may not be happening. It sounds so interesting and I still haven't cracked the spine.

The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead (4/5/16): Despite my feelings about Soundless, Richelle Mead is an amazing author and so I was looking forward to reading this new series. I just need more time to read it.

Empire of Dust by Eleanor Herman (6/28/16): The sequel I twiddled my thumbs for and when it came, I put it on my shelf and went on. I don't even remember what happened in Legacy of Kings so a reread is in order, so I can begin this one.


Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake (9/20/16): I saw this one in the store and I still have no clue what it is about. It's fantasy and a goal of mine this year and last is to read more fantasy.

Heartless by Marissa Meyer (11/8/16): I just finished Winter and Stars Above so it's time for some Alice in Wonderland retelling! I'm really excited about this one and since I received this one for Christmas, I am all set in bringing in the new year with an awesome retelling.

Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman (2/9/16): This was one of my anticipated reads in 2016 and I didn't read it. However, after reading tons of reviews about how this book is a retelling of Black Beard without the pirates, I'm beginning to wonder if I would like it. Only one way to find out.


Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare (3/8/16): I've been waiting for this one for a long time and when it finally came out, I went right out and got it. However, since I have still have to finish the last books of both the Mortal Instruments series and the Infernal Devices series, I can't start another series of Clare's yet.

What books are you playing catch up with in the new year?

best of 2016

10 Books that Santa Brought Me

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Happy New Year! It is officially 2017; can you believe it? I have so much faith in this amazing new year-- I think this year will be, not only a fantastic year for me personally but also, reading wise I think it will be the best one in a long time! With a Goodreads challenge goal of 80 books this year, I start the new year very optimistic. And looking at all the amazing books Santa brought me this year (I guess last year now), I cannot wait to read them all and surpass my new year goals.


Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman

Blackbeard the pirate was known for striking fear in the hearts of the bravest of sailors. But once he was just a young man who dreamed of leaving his rigid life behind to chase adventure in faraway lands. Nothing could stop him—until he met the one girl who would change everything.

Edward "Teach" Drummond, son of one of Bristol's richest merchants, has just returned from a year-long journey on the high seas to find his life in shambles. Betrothed to a girl he doesn’t love and sick of the high society he was born into, Teach dreams only of returning to the vast ocean he’d begun to call home. There's just one problem: convincing his father to let him leave and never come back.

Following her parents' deaths, Anne Barrett is left penniless and soon to be homeless. Though she’s barely worked a day in her life, Anne is forced to take a job as a maid in the home of Master Drummond. Lonely days stretch into weeks, and Anne longs for escape. How will she ever realize her dream of sailing to CuraƧao—where her mother was born—when she's stuck in England? 

From the moment Teach and Anne meet, they set the world ablaze. Drawn to each other, they’re trapped by society and their own circumstances. Faced with an impossible choice, they must decide to chase their dreams and go, or follow their hearts and stay. | Goodreads

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

In a kingdom by the sea…

In a secret world where half-angel warriors are sworn to fight demons, parabatai is a sacred word.

A parabatai is your partner in battle. A parabatai is your best friend. Parabatai can be everything to each other—but they can never fall in love.

Emma Carstairs is a warrior, a Shadowhunter, and the best in her generation. She lives for battle. Shoulder to shoulder with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, she patrols the streets of Los Angeles, where vampires party on the Sunset Strip, and faeries—the most powerful of supernatural creatures—teeter on the edge of open war with Shadowhunters. When the bodies of humans and faeries turn up murdered in the same way Emma’s parents were when she was a child, an uneasy alliance is formed. This is Emma’s chance for revenge—and Julian’s chance to get back his brother Mark, who is being held prisoner by the faerie Courts. All Emma, Mark, and Julian have to do is solve the murders within two weeks…and before the murderer targets them.

Their search takes Emma from sea caves full of sorcery to a dark lottery where death is dispensed. And each clue she unravels uncovers more secrets. What has Julian been hiding from her all these years? Why does Shadowhunter Law forbid parabatai to fall in love? Who really killed her parents—and can she bear to know the truth?

The darkly magical world of Shadowhunters has captured the imaginations of millions of readers across the globe. Join the adventure in Lady Midnight, the long-awaited first volume of a new trilogy from Cassandra Clare. | Goodreads

My True Love Gave to Me by Stephanie Perkins

If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins. Whether you enjoy celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah, Winter Solstice or New Year's there's something here for everyone. So curl up by the fireplace and get cozy. You have twelve reasons this season to stay indoors and fall in love. | Goodreads

Summer Days And Summer Night by Stephanie Perkins

Maybe it's the long, lazy days, or maybe it's the heat making everyone a little bit crazy. Whatever the reason, summer is the perfect time for love to bloom. Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, written by twelve bestselling young adult writers and edited by the international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins, will have you dreaming of sunset strolls by the lake. So set out your beach chair and grab your sunglasses. You have twelve reasons this summer to soak up the sun and fall in love.

Featuring stories by Leigh Bardugo, Francesca Lia Block, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Brandy Colbert, Tim Federle, Lev Grossman, Nina LaCour, Stephanie Perkins, Veronica Roth, Jon Skovron, and Jennifer E. Smith. | Goodreads

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

One Life to One Dawn.

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad's dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph's reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she'd imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It's an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid's life as retribution for the many lives he's stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, The Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end. | Goodreads

Unforgiven by Lauren Kate

It’s the book FALLEN fans have been waiting for: Cam’s story, the brooding, bad-boy dark angel readers love.

High school can be hell.

Cam knows what it’s like to be haunted. He’s spent more time in Hell than any angel ever should. And his freshest Hell is high school, where Lilith, the girl he can’t stop loving, is serving out a punishment for his crimes.

Cam made a bet with Lucifer: he has fifteen days to convince the only girl who really matters to him to love him again. If he succeeds, Lilith will be allowed back into the world, and they can live their lives together. But if he fails…there’s a special place in Hell just for him.

Tick-tock.

Spread your wings and cry as bad boy dark angel Cam finally reveals his anguished heart in the epic new FALLEN novel, UNFORGIVEN. | Goodreads

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

Aza Ray is drowning in thin air. 

Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live. 

So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn't think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.

Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who’s always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found, by another. Magonia. 

Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—and as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war is coming. Magonia and Earth are on the cusp of a reckoning. And in Aza’s hands lies the fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie? | Goodreads

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favorite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries. But for her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for a woman who could be a queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into a secret courtship.

Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans. | Goodreads

Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

For nearly twenty years Claire Randall has kept her secrets. But now she is returning with her grown daughter to Scotland’s majestic mist-shrouded hills. Here Claire plans to reveal a truth as stunning as the events that gave it birth: about the mystery of an ancient circle of standing stones... about a love that transcends the boundaries of time... and about Jamie Fraser, a Scottish warrior whose gallantry once drew a young Claire from the security of her century to the dangers of his.
 
Now a legacy of blood and desire will test her beautiful copper-haired daughter, Brianna, as Claire’s spellbinding journey of self-discovery continues in the intrigue-ridden Paris court of Charles Stuart... in a race to thwart a doomed Highlands uprising... and in a desperate fight to save both the child and the man she loves. | Goodreads

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

In Why Not Me?, Kaling shares her ongoing journey to find contentment and excitement in her adult life, whether it's falling in love at work, seeking new friendships in lonely places, attempting to be the first person in history to lose weight without any behavior modification whatsoever, or most important, believing that you have a place in Hollywood when you're constantly reminded that no one looks like you. 

In "How to Look Spectacular: A Starlet's Confessions", Kaling gives her tongue-in-cheek secrets for surefire on-camera beauty, ("Your natural hair color may be appropriate for your skin tone, but this isn't the land of appropriate-this is Hollywood, baby. Out here, a dark-skinned woman s traditional hair color is honey blonde.") "Player" tells the story of Kaling being seduced and dumped by a female friend in L.A. ("I had been replaced by a younger model. And now they had matching bangs.") In "Unlikely Leading Lady", she muses on America's fixation with the weight of actresses, ("Most women we see onscreen are either so thin that they're walking clavicles or so huge that their only scenes involve them breaking furniture.") And in "Soup Snakes", Kaling spills some secrets on her relationship with her ex-boyfriend and close friend, B.J. Novak ("I will freely admit: my relationship with B.J. Novak is weird as hell.") 

Mindy turns the anxieties, the glamour, and the celebrations of her second coming-of-age into a laugh-out-loud funny collection of essays that anyone who's ever been at a turning point in their life or career can relate to. And those who've never been at a turning point can skip to the parts where she talks about meeting Bradley Cooper. | Goodreads

What books did Santa bring you?